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What Is The Future Of Bellingham's Waterfront?

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Ed Ronco
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A view of Bellingham's waterfront, where redevelopment plans will allow for parks, homes and businesses

Inside the Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, the crowd had questions: Will there be jobs? What will the housing look like? Can I still get down to the beach? What about traffic in the area?

The redevelopment of Bellingham’s waterfront brings a lot of unknowns. What is clear, though, is that change is happening at the foot of the city’s downtown, where heavy industry once sat for more than a century.

That redevelopment was the subject of a community forum KNKX led on Oct. 11, hearing first from our environment reporter, Bellamy Pailthorp, and then from two people who are among the many working on the waterfront’s new look and feel — Brian Gouran with the Port of Bellingham, and Eleanor Hines with ReSources for Sustainable Communities.

Then, it was the community’s turn. You can hear our forum, and some of the comments from members of the public, through the audio above.

Of course, our trip to Bellingham wasn’t entirely focused on the waterfront. We spent a little time with the creators and hosts of The Bellingham Podcast, and took a look around the rest of Whatcom County, through the eyes of its extensive library system.

We also visited the Northwest Indian College to learn more about its Native Environmental Science program, and dropped in on the Endangered Species exhibition at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building.

A lot is happening in Bellingham — and like all of our KNKX Connects broadcasts, this was just a small sampling. We’re heading to Grays Harbor County next, for a program on Nov. 29.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
Ed Ronco came to KNKX in October 2013 as producer and reporter for KNKX’s Morning Edition. Ed started in public radio in 2009 at KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, where he covered everything from city government, to education, crime, science, the arts and more. Prior to public radio, Ed worked in newspapers, including four years at the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, where he covered business, then politics and government.